I decided to read this book because it is the first novel to be set in the parallel world created in the recent Star Trek movie, and despite its billing as a 'Young Adult' novel. It is set at the Academy while Kirk, Uhura and Bones are cadets, and sees them dealing with their studies, relationships and an alien invader who is stealing human organs.
Unlike other 'young adult' books I've read recently, this one takes it to the extreme. The writing style is that I would expect in a book aimed at a child of around ten, while some of the content I would like to think would be more suitable for someone in their mid-teens. As an adult reading, it comes across as very fast paced and lacking in detail. Chapters tend to end mid-scene with me wanting to find out what happened next, only for the next to jump forward several hours.
The plot is reasonable. It's a good mix of student life with adventure, and the two storylines intermingle well and feed off each other. Perhaps the non-academic aspects of studenthood are simplified and juvenilised a touch, but that may be a result of either the young target audience or it being based on the American eduction system. The plot will have a little more value to longer term Star Trek fans, who will get some of the implied references, but actually this kind of irritated me, as I wish the author had been a little more original.
The characters are by far the best thing about this book. Kirk and Uhura are portrayed exactly as in the recent film, and Bones and Spock make good back-ups to the pair, however Spock does feel a little shoehorned in. There is also some confused continuity regarding how far through their studies each of the characters is, with some disagreement with implications from the film.
Will I continue to read this series? I'm not yet sure. At first I thought that the writing was too young for me, but now I don't know if that will stop me. I might try the second one to see if this is how it will settle down.
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"The Delta Anomaly" by Rick Barba was the first novel released in the Starfleet Academy series of novels which are set in the JJ Abrams' alternative version of Star Trek. However, it actually takes place after the events that occurred in the 2nd novel to be released which was entitled "The Edge" and therefore I read that book first.
The main plotline is based around the investigation of a rather strange serial killer who seems able to kill people without leaving a single mark on the bodies. Kirk, McCoy and Uhura get dragged into the investigation when one of Uhura's friends is attacked and Kirk manages to step in an save her. Of course, before long the cadet's themselves are at risk when the killer appears to make a move on them.
In addition, the book also delves into some of activities and tests that the cadets are undertaking as well as taking an interesting look at the growing relationship between Uhura and Spock. If you think this all sounds a little bit busy for such a short book, I can confirm that you would be right. Barba has crammed a lot into the book which results in a breakneck pace with actions and thrills aplenty. However, I did find that this attempt to include a lot in the book meant that at times both the details were lacking and it could feel a little bit rushed.
I am happy to say that the main characters did feel correct compared to how they have been portrayed recently on the screen. What I really liked though was seeing how beneath Kirk's youthful and rebellious exterior lies a good man with the potential to be a great leader. This was visible in the other characters as well to an extent, but it was Kirk whose potential you could really see.
One thing I would like to note is that whilst this book is set after "The Edge" there isn't any particular advantage in reading that book first as the stories are pretty much self-contained so don't worry if you read this one first. However, there are a few inconsistencies I noticed when reading this book that may have occurred due to the books being written out of order. For example, in "The Delta Anomaly" there is a Doctor present at the Academy as an instructor who I believe would have been thrown out following certain events that occurred during "The Edge". There are few other little niggles like this that didn't affect my enjoyment of the novel but were noticeable.
Overall, this was a solidly enjoyable Star Trek novel that shoul appeal to any teens out there who enjoyed the JJ Abrams movie. It could be a little bit light on details and rushed at times, but the fast pace and thrill packed storyline should more than appeal to the books intended audience.
When looking for a new sci-fi adventure to download to my Kindle I got all excited about spotting the new Starfleet Academy novels. The lack of information on the books themselves annoyed me but it didn't stop me from buying the book. I had no idea what 'The Delta Anomaly' would be about - other than it involved the Star Trek characters created in JJ Abrams 2009 movie as opposed to the same characters in the original timeline - and was geared at teens.
Well, here's the low-down - my own 'blurb' without spoilers:
"twenty-third century Earth and the home of the Starfleet Cadets, San Francisco, is under threat. An unknown stalker is randomly killing people and no-one knows how he or she is doing it. The victims all appear to be unharmed from the outside, but it's a different matter on the inside.
After Kirk manages to help save Uhura's friend, they and Doc McCoy do their best to unravel the mystery of the terrifying night murderer."
This wasn't a brilliant read but it wasn't bad. Entertaining in places, it's far more plot than character based.
Uhura and Spock's romantic interest is hinted at and so is the fact that despite his playfulness Kirk's a pretty good leader. Kirk has a love interest and she's quite sassy, which pleased me since women usually just fall in love with his character. Helen's a little more hard to get, but I'd have liked even more romance between the two characters.
All the characters seemed very self-assured and I'd have liked them to be a little less unswervingly confident - so I could empathize at some point. The author weaved an interesting tale.
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